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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Interviews With Lynda Carter, James Cameron, George Lopez, Pierre Cossette, Steven Cojocaru

Aired April 27, 2003 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter speaks out on the secret agony that keeps millions suffering in silence.
And then James Cameron -- he gave us "Titanic." What brought him back to the famous shipwreck ever?

Plus, rising TV comedy star, George Lopez -- how does his hit show deal with problems he experienced in real life?

And then true tales of glitz, glamour and power, Pierre Cossette, the Hollywood giant who created the Grammy telecast.

And speaking of award shows, we'll talk with the new wild man of the red carpet, Steven Cojocaru, "The Today Show" and "Access Hollywood" fashions critic is here to dish and dis.

We're going to have a lot of fun. They're all next on Larry Kind Weekend.

We begin tonight's edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND with an old friend. Lynda Carter joins us from New York. Best known as TV's "Wonder Woman," currently working to raise awareness of a serious health issue, IBS. We're going to talk a lot about that.

She lives in suburban Washington with her husband, another good friend, Attorney Robert Alton. Jamie (ph) is now 15, and Jessica is 12.

LYNDA CARTER, ACTRESS: Yes.

KING: It's hard to believe. Lynda with a "y." She was crowned Miss USA World at the age of 21, landed the roll of "Wonder Woman" in 1975, appeared in many movies, produced movies, spokesperson for Maybelline, and still -- what are you doing now? You're still acting, right?

CARTER: I am. I did a movie this -- in the summer that will be out. It's called "Bloodhead," and it's directed by Christopher Coppola.

KING: Oh.

CARTER: Yes, it's going to be a great movie. It's one of those, you know, in the desert, mummy, special effects thing.

KING: You've never really taken time off, have you?

CARTER: Well...

KING: I mean you've always kind of worked at something.

CARTER: I've always kind of worked. Well, I've always worked, Larry. My main focus, of course, is my family, and then my career, and then public service.

KING: Before we go on to other things, let's talk about IBS. We should say off the top that Lynda is paid by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for being a spokesperson for Talk IBS. Now, Lynda, what does IBS stand for?

CARTER: IBS is irritable bowel syndrome. And it is something that my mother has suffered with since before I was born, which is a long, long time now. And just -- I'm on a public awareness and public education campaign.

This affects more than 40 million adults in America.

KING: Forty million.

CARTER: Forty million, 20 percent of the adult population. And this thing is...

KING: Now, it's difficult, maybe, to talk about, but what is the manifestation? If you have IBS, what happens to you?

CARTER: If you have IBS, it's abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating and constipation. And usually, the research shows that it's from one to three years before people even go to the doctor the first time because they think it's gong to go away. It's a chronic illness and...

KING: Not a disease?

CARTER: No. Well, yes, it is a disease. It is a sensitivity in the lower GI tract. And if you have it, you have it. But it's been in the closet for so long and has been under-diagnosed, misdiagnosed. Seventy percent of the sufferers are women.

And my mother was told it was her nerves; it was something she ate. Does she have stress -- you know, do you have stress in your life? Well, of course, we all have stress in our lives. And -- but it really affects and impacts -- it impacts the quality of life.

And a lot of the sufferers, their self-esteem is really low...

KING: Well, don't people think of -- when they think in terms of the terms -- if you use either irritable bowel syndrome or constipation, you think of laxatives...

CARTER: Right.

KING: ... or you think of Mylanta or Maalox, et cetera. CARTER: Right.

KING: Is that the standard procedure, the typical thought? I have this; I'll take this?

CARTER: Well, I think so. And it's been my experience that most of the people try home remedies. They try to do something on their own. But it actually can make the problem worse, which they find out right away.

This is a chronic -- it's a chronic condition. And, as I said, you know, if you -- every time you go, that you have to know where every bathroom is, and you have to -- you know, you're kind of doubled over with cramping or you've got abdominal pain or you feel all bloated.

We've all had our bouts with, you know, with something like this. But just think of how it feels when it happens on a regular basis.

KING: What, though, in going public with it, are you telling people to do?

CARTER: Well, I'll tell you.

KING: Thank you.

CARTER: We are trying to raise awareness, but there are new options available. There's new information. Before, when my mother was diagnosed, they said, you know, there is absolutely nothing we can do to help you. And that was really -- that was probably the hardest part of it.

But now, there is so much new information, new research that's available. We have a great Web site talk TalkIBS.org or 1-86NEWS4IBS.

And my main thing is to help people, women become empowered and to not have this thing in the closet, not be embarrassed or ashamed. It just is what it is.

KING: Well, why...

CARTER: And it's important for your family to know about it.

KING: Certain things, where -- I remember I did a radio show years ago on colostomy...

CARTER: Right.

KING: ... and nobody had ever discussed colostomy.

CARTER: Right.

KING: That's the people who have to wear the bags, et cetera.

CARTER: Right.

KING: And then once you become part of the nomenclature, it's discussed all the time.

CARTER: Exactly right.

KING: You have to break through, though. This is kind of a breakthrough. People don't like the word bowel.

CARTER: Exactly. Irritable Bowel -- and there's a lot of tee- hee factors going on, you know. And this is something that -- you would be surprised, Larry. Every place I go, every time I do an interview, it's a makeup woman, it's a -- it is a member of the staff will come over to me and tell me.

I was in Arizona and a politician came up to me and told me that she suffered from it. You know, it is -- I have a friend in L.A. that I've known for 30 years. I did not know that she suffered from IBS, and...

KING: Are there lots of treatments?

CARTER: You know, the research has just broken. The Society for Women's Health Research out of Washington just did an impact study. And -- so we are just now beginning to understand it.

One of the main problems is the people on the front lines, the doctors, the family practitioners, internists, O.B.s -- which a lot of women use as their family doctor -- they don't know what the symptoms are. They don't know how to diagnose it.

So when you walk into your doctor's office and you are informed, and you say, hey, you know, I watched Lynda Carter on Larry King's show and she's talking, I think I've got -- you know, I've got these symptoms, they certainly know that something is wrong.

KING: Let me -- I've got to get a break.

CARTER: OK.

KING: Let's repeat the -- it's TalkIBS.org.

CARTER: Exactly right.

KING: And there's also a phone number you gave?

CARTER: Yes, it is 1-86NEWS4IBS.

KING: 1-86NEWS4IBS.

CARTER: Right.

KING: We'll be back and talk some other things with Lynda Carter, best known as TV's "Wonder Woman," national spokesperson for IBS. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Lynda Carter, who is raising awareness of a serious health issue called IBS, which affects 40 million Americans. And you'll learn more tonight. You can learn more by checking the phone number or dialing in on the Internet. And when you go to a physician, you have a lot more knowledge of what you have, maybe more than your physician. And hopefully, we can make strides to, if not cure this, certainly reduce it.

What do you make -- some other items. What do you make of the rumors about "Wonder Woman" coming back with maybe Sandra Bullock playing her, a full-length film?

CARTER: You know, I've heard that. The one thing I like about the idea of someone, if not Sandra Bullock, someone like her, is that she's, you know, she's the kind of actress that you know, that you feel could be your friend. And that's the kind of person, if there's a new "Wonder Woman," that should play her.

I know that Warner Bros. has had some things in the works for many, many years, trying to sort of come up with the right combination. You know, I loved doing it.

KING: If they did it, they'd have to give you a part.

CARTER: Yes!

KING: Yes. Well, look, we've had "Daredevils," "Spiderman." Why can't "Wonder Woman" be a full-length action film?

CARTER: You know what? I think you're right. And I think that...

KING: You know what? Our next guest, James Cameron, he could direct it.

CARTER: Absolutely. James Cameron is so -- oh.

KING: It would be right up his alley, wouldn't it?

CARTER: Yes it would. But it's the humanity behind her. When I first got the part, that was really a focus, Larry, of mine, was that I wanted her to think of herself just like everyone else. And it was really the other people around her that made fools of themselves.

KING: And you're still producing things? Are you still getting your hands -- getting your feet wet at being an exec producer of projects?

CARTER: I have not done that for a couple years, mainly because of my family. And it's very time consuming. But I, in November, did a movie in New Zealand. And I always try to make my roles my own.

In "Bloodhead," which is coming out this summer, I got to play probably the best part I've ever played -- besides "Wonder Woman," besides "Wonder Woman."

KING: Who do you play?

CARTER: I got to play a fading trailer trash beauty.

KING: That's Nick Cage's brother, right?

CARTER: Nick Cage's brother, right.

KING: Directed it.

CARTER: Yes, he did. And it was just -- it was so much fun to be able to, you know, to really go about a role with -- well, being cast in something I'm not normally cast in, yes.

KING: Yes. How do you -- how have you balanced your life with the priority you give to children and your husband and not living in the show business belt, living in suburban Virginia? How have you done that?

CARTER: Well, as you know, Larry, suburban Virginia is Washington, D.C. I mean, for all intents and purposes, I live a mile from the D.C. line. And Washington is always fascinating.

I think that raising my children in an area like that, they're very aware of political climates and all of that. And I have great respect for the -- our political system. And so I'm kind of an outsider, but kind of on the inside a little bit, depending on who's in the White House.

KING: In your last appearance with us, you helped a lot of people, talking about alcoholism and how you had overcome it.

CARTER: Yes.

KING: How goes the battle with sobriety?

CARTER: Well -- no.

KING: Boy, did I lead you into that one! That's the one thing you failed. Good you can laugh.

CARTER: I'm doing very well, I tell you. I just thank -- I'm so thankful. I'm thankful every day of my life for the many people that stood by me and that helped me. And facing that dark abyss, facing, you know, facing the fact that you cannot handle something -- I've been able to handle everything in my life. And really facing up to the fact that I needed help, I couldn't do it on my own. I needed help.

KING: Yes.

CARTER: And I went to Father Martin Ashley (ph). And it was -- I felt, when I walked through those doors, within the first half hour, that I had sort of come home, that I...

KING: Well, you did it.

CARTER: Thanks.

KING: I thank you for all you do. And again, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, TalkIBS.org. Or you can call...

CARTER: You don't have to suffer in silence, all you people. Please go to our Web site.

KING: And you can dial 1-86NEWS4IBS. We thank Lynda Carter for...

CARTER: Yes, or TalkIBS.org.

KING: TalkIBS.org. Thanks so much, Lynda, as always -- Lynda Carter.

James Cameron is next. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome James Cameron onto our studio and to welcome him to tonight's edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. The Academy Award-winning direct, producer and screenwriter of "Titanic" now has an amazing event that is going to premier April 11, to be shown in IMAX 3D theaters and specially outfitted 35mm 3D theaters. It's called "Ghosts of the Abyss." I've just watched a seven-minute kind of preview of it.

Tell me the origin of this.

JAMES CAMERON, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER, "GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS": Well first of all, thanks for having me on.

KING: Good seeing you.

CAMERON: I appreciate it. Well, I love 3D. I've loved it all my life.

KING: Since "House of Wax"?

CAMERON: Yes. You know, since all those bad movies when you were a kid, "House of Wax" being one of the better ones.

KING: Yes.

CAMERON: And a couple of years ago, I decided to build a digital 3D system. And then we looked around for something really cool to shoot with it, and we decided to go back to Titanic and shoot it in 3D.

KING: So you went down, as I've seen.

CAMERON: Yes.

KING: You built a special kind of what?

CAMERON: Well, a...

KING: You used submarines.

CAMERON: Yes, we used the Russian subs, but we built special housings for the cameras and took them down there.

KING: How far down?

CAMERON: It's two-and-a-half miles to the bottom of the Atlantic.

KING: Is the Titanic in any kind of shape, by the way? What's it look like?

CAMERON: Well, it's a majestic wreck. I mean it's overgrown with rust, and so on. And sometimes parts of it are not recognizable. But there are majestic portions of it that really evoke how beautiful a ship it was.

KING: And this is a trip through the ship?

CAMERON: Yes, we just...

KING: Through my -- using my eyes with the 3D, right?

CAMERON: Yes. We'll take you through the inside of the ship too, which is not something anybody's ever done. And that took some special hardware that we had to build that took three-and-a-half years to develop, special little robots that could go in and snoop around through the inside of the ship without touching or disturbing anything.

KING: Bill Paxton is your trip narrator, right?

CAMERON: He's like our guide. He's like Virgil taking you through the under-world, you know?

KING: Do you have any fear doing this?

CAMERON: Not when you're doing it. I think there's a little apprehension before, you know, maybe the night before, when you get in the sub and they close the hatch. But from that moment on, it's all business.

KING: How long were you down there?

CAMERON: About six hours per dive.

KING: How many dives?

CAMERON: Twelve dives. So I've spent more time on Titanic than the crew did, than the captain and the crew did when they were on the ship.

KING: How long is the film?

CAMERON: It's a 60-minute film. It's a 3D experience, so those tend not to be quite so long.

KING: Was editing tough? CAMERON: Editing was a nightmare. That was the hardest part of the film. I mean we thought the expedition was bad with four hurricanes and everything, but we came back with 900 hours of material. And most of it was garbage, you know, because it was just stuff, people just behaving normally. And so it was finding those nuggets.

KING: "Ghost of the Abyss" is being marketed unusually. You can call a number -- it opens in April, April 11, in fact. But you can call 1-888-Disney6 and reserve tickets at the theater closest to you or, of course, go to the box office. How this method? How did you pick this method to market it? Why not just come up and see it?

CAMERON: Well, Disney's been ingenious about how to market this film because they know it's going to have broad appeal, as entertainment, but they also know that there's an educational component. So they want schools to know where they can call up and book field trips and that sort of thing.

And because it only plays in a few theaters -- you know, the 50 IMAX theaters, approximately, and 50 35mm special 3D theaters. You can just go and see it anywhere. You have to kind of make an arrangement. It becomes more of a special event.

KING: Have you seen it in an IMAX theater?

CAMERON: For the first time on Saturday, from end to end.

KING: What was it like?

CAMERON: It's cool. It's cool.

KING: Do you feel like you're in it?

CAMERON: Oh, yes. You feel like you're there. And we've been working on this thing for a couple of years. And it was a bit of theory because it's the first digital film that's been blown up to IMAX. And we were nervous, right up until the last minute, that it would all work, but it's working good.

KING: What was the trick in getting digital to IMAX 3D, without being too technical.

CAMERON: Yes, I won't get technical. The Sony camera people were great. They worked with us. And Panavision Corporation worked with us to make a special camera that could -- essentially, we had to fit two cameras in the same distance as human vision, side-by-side, so that it would look the way it would look if you were actually there. So we call it the reality camera system.

KING: Does it take me down through the dive?

CAMERON: Yes, yes. We start you at the surface. You get in the sub. You close the hatch. You feel that claustrophobia. You're in there with Bill Paxton, who's kind of...

KING: Scared to death.

CAMERON: Scared to death, you know, but he becomes, you know, a pretty solid, seasoned sub diver by the end of his...

KING: And some rough weather too.

CAMERON: We had a recovery that was so bad that we got rocked and rolled in 20, 25-foot seas for about two-and-a-half hours before they could get us out.

KING: Why do you like these kinds of things? Why do you like shooting adventure films? Why do you like taking risks?

CAMERON: Well, they're calculated risks, but there is definitely a risk component to it. And I like the challenge. I like the technical challenge of doing hard stuff. And this is about as hard as it gets.

KING: This must have also been expensive.

CAMERON: Actually, surprisingly not. It was made on -- I mean these types of films, because they're documentaries, have to be made fairly conscientiously. And I had some of my own money in the film as well. So it was made for about $12 million, which is, you know, not bad, not bad.

KING: Shoo! Can it be shown someday non-3D on television?

CAMERON: Yes, you could -- we could watch it on TV. You could watch it in a 2D theater. But for our initial release, for the first year or so, we only want people to see it in 3D because, you know, part of what I'm trying to do is say 3D is the way we see, so it's the way we should see in movies. And I want to make my Hollywood movies in 3D also.

KING: Why are you fascinated with the Titanic?

CAMERON: Well, you know, Titanic has been a love of mine for many years. I used to...

KING: Before the movie, right?

CAMERON: Yes, before the movie. I mean I was only -- half jokingly said that I made the movie so I could go dive the Titanic. And the movie was kind of an afterthought. So getting to go back and really explore the interior was really a dream come true.

KING: Now anyone could go down there, right? The Titanic doesn't belong to anyone, does it?

CAMERON: Correct. There is a company that has salvage right, and so you couldn't take...

KING: Oh, really?

CAMERON: You couldn't take anything if you went there. But anybody can visit Titanic, view it, and...

KING: Are people taking things from it? Is this company doing things, selling?

CAMERON: Yes. Well, they're not supposed to sell it, no. But they're doing some fairly excellent exhibits that are around the world. And you can actually see it and, in some cases, even touch artifacts from the Titanic.

KING: Getting down that close and taking those cameras in, what amazed you the most about that ship?

CAMERON: Well, we expected it to be pretty empty on the inside because it sank 90 years ago, but we found really the grandeur of Titanic is still in there. We found beautiful stained glass windows that were still in tact in the dining room and in the reception space and all the woodwork and furniture and a wardrobe still with the mirror on it. We flew up with our little robot and photographed ourselves in the mirror, I mean things you'd never expect. And it's all in there.

KING: Is there anything you wanted to do you couldn't do?

CAMERON: We were pretty lucky and pretty perseverant.

KING: So you got everything you wanted?

CAMERON: Pretty much so, yes. And a lot of surprises that we didn't expect that were -- some of them were positive. Even the storm that you mentioned turns out to be one of the best sequences in the film, so...

KING: What was the most surprising thing?

CAMERON: Little things, little human touch sort of things, like a water decanter and glass still sitting right on a shelf. And you think, how can this ship have broken up an sunk to the bottom of the ocean and all that energy and violence, and here's this -- somebody left that glass sitting there full of water, and it's still there.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

CAMERON: Yes.

KING: Is the ship eroding?

CAMERON: Yes. It's -- the wreck is definitely breaking down. It's in worse shape now than when I saw it, you know, in '95 when we did our dives for the movie.

KING: Are you interested in other sinkings?

CAMERON: There are some interesting wrecks around the world, sure.

KING: Some pirate ships? CAMERON: There are pirate ships. There are...

KING: People are doing this for money, right? I know, in the Caribbean, they go down looking for gold.

CAMERON: Yes. You can salvage. You can try to find the lost billions in gold from Spanish, you know, the Spanish Armada and so on. My interest is history. You know, there are some great World War II stories that haven't really been told that well, you know, the Battle of Midway and things like that.

KING: Are you going to do them?

CAMERON: I'd like to, yes, over time. You know, make a Hollywood movie, then make one of these, and go back and forth.

KING: Well, I can't wait to see it. Now, again, this opens April 11 at IMAX 3D theaters and specially outfitted 35mm 3D theaters. You can call for tickets for your classes or yourself, 1-888-Disney6. They'll tell you the theater closest to you.

CAMERON: Yes, they'll tell you where to go.

KING: 1-888-Disney6 or, of course, at the box office. The film is the "Ghosts of the Abyss." The guest is James Cameron. What an honor.

CAMERON: What a pleasure for me. Thanks.

KING: We'll be back with more, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW")

GEORGE LOPEZ, "THE GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW": Twenty-seven ninety-six Van Nuys Boulevard. Thanks a lot.

I got him, Angie, I got him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, George, take it easy.

LOPEZ: There's a thief over at 2679 Van Nuys, and I'm going to kick his butt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George, your dyslexia, it's 2796.

LOPEZ: Don't try to stop me, I'm going to 2976 and kicking whoever's but is there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 2796.

LOPEZ: I don't care. I'm going to the 2000 block and kick everyone's butt.

Angie... UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-seven ninety-six.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now welcome to this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.

George Lopez, the comedian and actor, star of ABC's "The George Lopez Show," which airs Wednesday night at 8:30 Eastern time.

Thank you very much for joining us.

GEORGE LOPEZ, ACTOR: Larry, it's truly an honor for me to be here with you.

KING: Well, what a great -- they named it "The George Lopez Show."

LOPEZ: You know, we tried to come up with names that -- I've been George Lopez for so long and identified with it from standup that we just thought it would be false.

KING: But George doesn't have an airplane parts factory, that's a...

LOPEZ: But George worked in an airplane parts factory in the early '80s, and dreamt about being a comedian, and never dreamt about having my own show, but dreamt about doing standup then.

KING: How did the show come about?

LOPEZ: Wow, you know, Larry, I was in the clubs for 20 years, and I'd hear that a producer wants to come and see me. So you hear that all the time. I said, Yes, maybe the guy doesn't want to pay to get in. I'd think, you know, OK.

So he comes. A year later we find out that he's working for Sandra Bullock, and she wants to produce a television show. So it took five months of phone calls. We finally got her to come and see me. And that night she said, What do I have to do to be in the George Lopez business? And I thought, Well, you could sleep with me, but that's probably not going to happen. So I want to be in business with you.

And she's been by my side ever since. It's almost two and a half years now.

KING: While doing standup all those years, did you want to do a situation comedy?

LOPEZ: You know, I -- to tell you the truth, I never thought it would happen. You know, when you watch television as much as I did as a kid -- I was an only child -- but the only Latinos really you see are in derogatory parts. And I never thought a guy would lead a show. I thought if it ever happened, I thought I was the guy that could do it right, because my heart was in the right place. And -- but I never dreamt -- And even after doing standup in the clubs there in the mid-'90s, I really thought I was going to be relegated to just being a club comedian for the rest of my life.

KING: How did they come up with the concept that the show would actually be sort of like your life?

LOPEZ: You know, I wanted to do it. With Bruce Helford (ph), we -- Sandra and I went to Bruce Helford, who created "Drew Carey." And we said, probably the best way for me to succeed would be to just open everything in my life, all the good and all the bad. And my grandmother was really hard on me, and I was just kind of neglected emotionally, unavailable, little kid who grew up to be this, you know, loving, caring man and father, when I didn't have a father.

And we thought, let's keep it as close to real life. And he says, you know, It's going to intrude on your personal life. And I said, Man, I've been in anonymity for 20 years. I want to be bothered at a restaurant. I want to have people stop me and say, Are you George Lopez? I mean, that's -- I mean, Larry, kids where I grow up don't ever get that opportunity.

KING: Where'd you grow up (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

LOPEZ: I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in San Fernando. I was born in General Hospital in East L.A., and then I -- we moved to the lovely part of San Fernando Valley.

KING: Were you a successful standup? Were you always working?

LOPEZ: I think so. You know, in '87, I quit my day job, July 17 of '87. And I did all right. I was in six figures pretty early, but six figures, you know, when I was trying to raise a family, and you get taxed on that. And -- but it wasn't like it is now. It's just really more than I ever imagined, and it's just amazing.

KING: Are you enjoying it?

LOPEZ: Absolutely. I do all the press. I get up early. I'm available for everyone. I sign things. I include people on the show. I find actors, Larry, that are walking the lot at Warner Brothers, and I make them extras in the show. I mean, I want to help so much, because...

KING: That's great.

LOPEZ: ... one person helped me. And I figure all I can do is help people. For as long as the show's on the air.

KING: Who helped you?

LOPEZ: Sandra and my wife.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). How's the show doing?

LOPEZ: We just got renewed a couple of weeks ago for the whole third season, so 22 more shows after we're done with this year.

KING: It's a battle, isn't it?

LOPEZ: It's a battle every week, it's a battle every day, and it's a battle every Wednesday night at 8:30. And by 9:00, you know, America chooses whether they want to stay with you another week, or whether they move over to "American Idol" or to "Star Search" or to "Ed."

But I think what's -- what the audience is finding with us is that we're real people, with real problems. And even though we look different, we're the same. And I think that's a fantastic thing, though, Larry. I mean, we're the largest minority of people in the United States...

KING: Sure, yes.

LOPEZ: ... and we should be represented on TV.

KING: Do you participate in the writing?

LOPEZ: I'm not in the room every day, but in the beginning, I was in there a lot. And the summer, I was in there every day, and we wrote the stories, and we wrote the arc of me trying to find my father, which is right out of real life. And I try to be there. After I'm rehearsing, I try to go by and spend at least four or five hours two, three times a day with the writers. It's very important.

KING: Is it true that you want to take the show more serious as well?

LOPEZ: Well, I think "Roseanne" did something that was incredible when she managed to make sad things funny and drama things very funny. So we -- I've already done things about dyslexia and death and your daughter, teenaged daughter, getting breasts, and the father being the last one to realize that.

I think one of the right -- if you look at it, Larry, I mean, we -- the hardest part -- time we have is trying to think of a story that's simple, because it's all so complicated.

KING: To the young Latino, was "Chico and the Man" the show of choice? I mean, was that the show that was a breakthrough?

LOPEZ: Well, I don't know to the young Latino kid, but to me, when I was 11 years old and I saw Freddie Prinz, Larry, it totally changed my life. I mean, I fell in love instantly with him. And when he passed, I was destroyed. And even now, I still have feelings of, you know, sadness. But I miss him so much.

And it was -- if it wasn't for Freddie Prinz, I wouldn't have become a comedian. And I used him like people use religion to find my way in comedy. My dressing room at Warner Brothers is pretty much a shrine, a shrine to him. And I have his keychain from his widow, Kathy (ph), that he had on his Corvette. And he's...

He gave me the drive, Larry. I didn't have a father, I didn't have somebody to tell me I could do these things.

KING: How much, George, in your opinion, have we changed, societally, toward the Latino?

LOPEZ: You know, I still think that -- I mean, there's always going to be room to grow. But I think that Jennifer Lopez, Rickey Martin, "CSI Miami," there's so much -- there's a lot of good, "(UNINTELLIGIBLE) From Tucson." There's a lot of -- there's -- it's getting better every day, Larry, you know. It's...

KING: Still not equal to its percentage.

LOPEZ: Oh, no, no, no. But, I mean, you know, 2 percent of people on television are Latino, and it was 1.5. Erik Estrada put on 40 pounds and brought us up to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: So this is a commitment to you now. As long as this show runs, you're not doing standup?

LOPEZ: I do standup on the weekend.

KING: Oh, you do? (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

LOPEZ: And when we're on hiatus, I'm going to go on the road. I'm going to get a bus, Larry, and I'm going to go through Texas on a luxury bus. And I'm going to Abeline, I'm going to Lubbock, I'm going to Amarillo, I'm going to Tucson...

KING: Oh, boy.

LOPEZ: ... I'm going everywhere. George Lopez...

KING: Because you want to?

LOPEZ: Absolutely. I want to go and -- Larry, I never thought I was going to get this far, to sit here with you. I want to go and be with the people who enjoy the show, and that the real Americans.

KING: We enjoy you, George.

LOPEZ: Absolutely.

KING: Have you back soon.

LOPEZ: I'll be come back.

KING: Might do a whole hour one night on the Latino, on minorities in America.

LOPEZ: I'll be ready.

KING: George Lopez. He stars on ABC's "The George Lopez Show," aptly named, Wednesday nights, 8:30.

One of the great producers of all time in Broadway, in Vegas, and on television, is Pierre Cossette. He's next. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW")

LOPEZ: Carmen, what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got in a fight with Piper. She kept calling me a slut, then she pushed me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God, are you all right? You have blood on you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Piper's.

LOPEZ: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. I punched her in the nose.

LOPEZ: Damn! My girl's a scrapper!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George!

LOPEZ: Come on, let me have this. She drew blood!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND an old friend, Pierre Cossette, the renowned producer of television specials, Broadway shows. In fact, he initiated the first live Grammy Awards. That was back in 1971.

Author of a terrific new autobiography, "Another Day in Show Business: One" -- or "Show Biz," as we call it -- "One Producer's Journey."

You're a famous producer. You touch lots of bases, Broadway, Vegas. How'd you become a producer?

PIERRE COSSETTE, AUTHOR, "ANOTHER DAY IN SHOW BIZ": Well, I became a producer after I left MCA, I was in -- I took the job of entertainment director in the Flamingo...

KING: Hotel in Vegas.

COSSETTE: In Vegas. And that's when I became a producer, because I had to put packages and shows together, and so on.

KING: What does a producer do?

COSSETTE: A producer...

KING: Produces.

COSSETTE: ... produces.

KING: What does he do? Is he the central focus? Does he... COSSETTE: Well, the producer -- there's the executive producer and there's a producer. Usually the executive producer starts with a telephone, a wastebasket, and an idea.

KING: Right.

COSSETTE: And the idea, it might be like I had the idea to put on the Grammy Awards live, it had never been a...

KING: That was your idea.

COSSETTE: Yes. Never on television. So I went and made a rights deal with the record academy. And I'd owned a record label before then, so I knew the language. And I got that. But I didn't know that I would be unable to sell the show.

And finally I was able to sell it. And then as you go along, that little choo-choo starts adding things. You add the idea, and then you got to make the sale, and then you've got to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hire a producer...

KING: So you're many things, right? You have to be creative, you have to be a salesman, right?

COSSETTE: Yes, yes.

KING: You have to know costs.

COSSETTE: Right.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) budgets.

COSSETTE: Absolutely.

KING: Are you shocked at how far the Grammys have come?

COSSETTE: Well, the growth curve has been incredible. We started the Grammys in a little ballroom at the Palladium in Hollywood, on that little tiny stage. That was -- and we -- then we went to larger venues, like 2,000-seaters. Then we went to the Shrine Auditorium, with 6,500 seats. And then we went to Radio City Music Hall. And finally we went to Madison Square Garden.

KING: What came to writing the book?

COSSETTE: I had a lady call me and said, Listen, I have a new business here, and I sit and talk to people your age and ask them questions about their life. And the next thing you know, I have all this typed up, and I give it to you, and then you give this to your grandkids so they'll know what Grandpa did.

KING: A memento.

COSSETTE: A memento, right. So my wife said, Why don't you make a buck out of this? So, you know, one thing led to another, and I started taking these stories. And, you know, it's a different language. I mean, whether it's verbal or written. So I wrote (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and that was it.

KING: What was your first big hit?

COSSETTE: My first very big hit, oh, golly, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the record label was a big hit with the Mammas and the Pappas and Three Dog Night.

KING: That was your gig?

COSSETTE: Yes, yes, that was...

KING: So you produce records too?

COSSETTE: Yes, yes. So Lou Adler did most of the producing in my company, but I own the company.

KING: So you've touched all the bases.

COSSETTE: Yes.

KING: Do you have a favorite?

COSSETTE: Broadway.

KING: Because?

COSSETTE: Because the process is very, very, very long. And it gets changed and changed and changed. And one -- it's opening night...

KING: And you know everything that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COSSETTE: ... you've got 3,000 people there, and you're sitting there, and you're really sweating. It's not like television. Worst thing can happen to you in television is they say, Well, we're not going to use you any more, or something.

But on Broadway, you've got a lot of money involved in it...

KING: Then you got to run, and three people count, right?

COSSETTE: That's right, that's right.

KING: The critics.

COSSETTE: Yes. Afterwards, a bad review comes out, it's -- But it's very, very exciting, that's the -- it's more exciting than television. I've never done a motion picture, but I've done a lot of movies of the week and miniseries and things like that.

KING: Well, you're renowned. By the way, the book is a terrific read. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sent it to me, and I went home one night, read it, and kept reading it. You promote a lot of people. Ann-Marget owes a lot to you, Don Rickles...

COSSETTE: Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.

KING: ... owes a lot to you, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) brings people in. Tell us the story, because we don't have a lot of time...

COSSETTE: Yes.

KING: ... about the thing you did with the dancing doctors...

COSSETTE: Oh...

KING: ... at the Flamingo. This is funny.

COSSETTE: ... well, here I was at the Flamingo, and it -- those -- these were in the old days. Everything's corporate today. But in those days, it wasn't.

He says, Hey, kid, we got a big medical convention coming in here. We got 6,000 doctors. And I want you to get a big name.

And I couldn't get a big name, because there was just only five hotels, and every -- they wouldn't, you know...

So anyway, I had an idea. And I took little want ads in Miami and New York and Chicago and Houston and Seattle, San Francisco. Ladies, if you are a doctor, and you would like to be a chorus girl at the Flamingo Hotel, please send in your certificate, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

So -- and I was flabbergasted. I had things this high.

KING: So you had a bunch of lady doctors...

COSSETTE: I had doctors, they were real...

KING: ... do a chorus line?

COSSETTE: ... real doctors, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: They did a chorus line.

COSSETTE: They called it Dancing Doctors. And there were 16 of them. And they were all gorgeous.

KING: The pit bosses thought they worked there.

COSSETTE: Well, yes. So I had on the menu the credential of each one of these people, so it -- there were no phonies in there, they were all doctors, most of them medical doctors. And the guy, after opening night, the pit boss says, Hey, these broads ain't mixing. They got -- don't these broads know they got to mix?

I said, Well, you know, I -- He didn't know about dancing doctors. He just thought it was a good act.

KING: Right. Pierre Cossette is a genius. Thank you very much.

COSSETTE: Oh, thank you.

KING: The book is "Another Day in Show Biz: One Producer's Journey." The author is my friend, and what a talent, what a guy, Pierre Cossette.

Steven Cojocaru is next, the West Coast style editor of "People" magazine. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

STEVEN COJOCARU, WEST COAST EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Sally Field (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

I genuinely worship you.

You are rock and roll, says that I'm even a smidgen rock and roll?

Ahhh! I'm being invaded by fashion pundits.

Oh, you mean, I shouldn't talk (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

COJOCARU: Wait until do a her on national television.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND Steven Cojocaru, the West Coast style editor for "People" magazine, fashion guru for "Today" show and "Access Hollywood," and author of a great new book, "Red Carpet Diaries: Confessions of a Glamour Boy."

What led you to write this?

STEVEN COJOCARU, WEST COAST STYLE EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: I wrote the book in my head when I was 6 years old.

KING: Come on!

COJOCARU: Underneath my parents' -- in my parents' bedroom, underneath the bed, was where kept all the treasures. And I found underneath my mother's bed Xaviera Hollander, "The Happy Hooker." Of course, my mother lied and said that it was -- she was a chef or a cook or something like that.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), "The Happy Hooker."

COJOCARU: "The Happy Cooker." And she -- and Sidney Sheldon. And I found these trash novels. And I said at that moment -- I'm not joking, at around 6 or 7 -- one day I'm going to write a book about Hollywood.

And then I was on the red carpet, I saw all these great stories, and I also got to see the plastic surgery up close. And I got to sort of deconstruct this...

KING: Is this a for-real book?

COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: Or a...

COJOCARU: No, this is my memoirs thus far.

KING: OK. So you lay it out as you see it.

COJOCARU: Absolutely as I see it. But a nice balance.

KING: Don't you lose friendships?

COJOCARU: You do. But you know what? I'm not friends with celebrities. People have that misconception. I have no -- I started off, I was obsessed with celebrities. If you would have given me Goldie Hawn's flop sweat, I would have been the -- you know, I would have been dancing in my house.

Now I'm so self-absorbed, Larry. I do my job, I get my hair blown out, go back to the house, I'm done. I have no desire to be friends with celebs, none.

KING: What are you?

COJOCARU: What am I?

KING: Are you a writer, a critic? I mean, you're an editor -- what...

COJOCARU: I'm a little bit of both. I'm a little bit of it all. My foundation is, I'm a writer. Now I've started to be on television. I have a big mouth. And again, I have -- I think I have good TV teeth, they say...

KING: Are you ready for your own gig?

COJOCARU: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: I mean, your own -- you know, "The Steven Cojocaru Show"?

COJOCARU: If anybody is watching and wants to call me on my cell phone, yes.

KING: In other words, you're available to be a...

COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: Because you appear on the "Today" show at times when they need you, right... COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: ... and "Access Hollywood" (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when -- And you are biting, are you not? You are...

COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: ... brutally honest at times.

COJOCARU: I'm brutally honest. I don't sugar-coat. But you know what? I don't come on as a fashion expert. I feel like I come on as the water cooler. That's my perspective. I -- when -- the day after an awards show, my mom, my Aunt Mitzie, all the relatives, they are vicious. The people out there are opinionated.

And that's who I am. I just got lucky. I have a microphone. But I'm everybody. I'm just talking about (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: But it's all opinion. And if I like the dress...

COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: ... you may not like the dress, right?

COJOCARU: Exactly. Exactly.

KING: Do you -- are you so critical and gotten so well known with "People" and the "Today" show that people tend to think, Will Steven like this? And if that's true, will they dress more conventional...

COJOCARU: Right.

KING: ... so you can't really knock them, they're wearing a nice black dress?

COJOCARU: Right. I don't know if it's -- I don't know, I'm not connected to that. But, I mean, I hear that. I think it's more in general, in broad strokes. They think about the pundits. And I'm a pundit.

But I will tell you that in the last couple of years, award shows, the fashion's gotten a lot safer. People are really pulling back. Because the coverage -- we're in the age of megacoverage. I make a joke, I call it the pantycam. We know everything. We know J- Lo's X-rays, her Fallopian tubes. We know everything at this point.

And because of that, and because they're under such a microscope, and the fashion is so dissected, that it has changed. You have less wild cards, less people over the top, less Chers. So people are careful.

KING: Now, were they doing this in 1950, when they had Academy Awards...

COJOCARU: Yes. KING: ... and Olivia de Havilland was there, and Bette Davis?

COJOCARU: They were doing it right.

KING: Did they -- were they writing about the -- what they wore?

COJOCARU: I think so, I think there was that kind of coverage. Your Hedda Hoppers and your Louellas and your "Photoplay" magazines and all of that.

KING: But it's much more now that they...

COJOCARU: Well, now it's big business. Then it was business as well, but now it's all -- it's megacorporate. I mean, it's all about product placement. What goes on before the Oscars, a couple of days before, every -- it's swag everywhere, you know. And the future is, people are probably going to wear banners, My Dress Sponsored by Versacci.

KING: Let's ask you about some people and how you think they dress. Jennifer Lopez, is she a good dresser?

COJOCARU: Yes and no. I love Jennifer Lopez because she's interesting, she's never boring. And that's my only criteria, that she's gutsy. And one minute she looks like a streetwalker, and the next minute she looks like a Hollywood princess. So thanks to Jennifer Lopez and her big -- may I say it? -- tucchus, derriere...

KING: You may.

COJOCARU: ... the size of an SUV, that bought me my house. So I'm very grateful to Jennifer Lopez, because I have something to talk about for the last couple of years.

KING: Halle Berry.

COJOCARU: Halle Berry, princess. A movie star.

KING: Knows how to dress.

COJOCARU: Knows how to dress, beyond knows how to dress. That's, again, sort of my bias. If you dress like a movie star, you have me. She dresses for her job. If she was a dental hygienist, she would probably be a well-dressed dental hygienist. She dresses to be a movie star.

KING: Well, there is a dress for your work, then.

COJOCARU: Oh, absolutely.

KING: In other words, if she were a dental hygienist, she'd look ridiculous. No -- or not ridiculous, she'd be wrongly dressed for going to the movies.

COJOCARU: Yes, exactly.

KING: Right?

COJOCARU: Exactly. But she takes the responsibility of the red carpet and stardom seriously.

KING: Nicole Kidman.

COJOCARU: Phenomenal, best dressed in Hollywood, hands down.

KING: Because?

COJOCARU: Really -- because she's elegant and she's romantic and sophisticated and polished, and she loves fashion. That's why.

Now, I don't hold that everybody has to love fashion, Larry. Some people do, some people like gardening. Nicole Kidman, you can tell, it's not a chore for her, it's effortless.

KING: Do you like Courtney Love?

COJOCARU: Love Courtney Love, because I hold that most of the stars are so sanitized and so much on Prozac and so dead and homogenized. And they're afraid of their own shadows. Courtney Love is a loose cannon. She says what she thinks. She doesn't sugar-coat. She's wild on the red carpet. You get the best sound bites from Courtney Love.

KING: Now, how about some people you don't like. You don't like Helen Hunt, right? I'm not talking personally here...

COJOCARU: Right.

KING: ... but the way they dress.

COJOCARU: Professional -- well, not so much the way they dress. I have something in my book about the red carpet divas and the red carpet demons. And Helen Hunt is not a giver on the red carpet. She's a little cranky. And I...

KING: You're talking about responsive, smiling...

COJOCARU: I'm talking about...

KING: ... for the paparazzi.

COJOCARU: Yes, who's good at the red carpet and who's bad at the red carpet. And I -- in my humble opinion, that she's the type -- she doesn't seem happy. She's a very serious actress. She doesn't give.

KING: Do you still stand on the red carpet?

COJOCARU: Yes, I do it for "Access Hollywood" with the microphone.

KING: You stand there with the microphone?

COJOCARU: Well, we have a gorgeous platform and water fountains...

KING: Well, now you have -- now you're a star, you don't...

COJOCARU: ... we've got a setup, yes.

KING: ... stand by the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right?

COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: So there are red carpet personalities.

COJOCARU: Yes.

KING: OK. You don't -- also Callista Flockhart, right?

COJOCARU: Yes. Again...

KING: What's wrong with her?

COJOCARU: Doesn't seem to enjoy it. She seems like she'd rather be getting a colon exam than be on the red carpet. She seems so unhappy.

I am a child of Hollywood and dreams. To me, to be on the red carpet is the best place in the world...

KING: Madonna, you...

COJOCARU: ... why would you be cranky?

KING: Madonna, you don't like.

COJOCARU: Madonna, not a giver. You know, we were...

KING: You must give on the red carpets.

COJOCARU: Yes, give, engaging...

KING: Smile, come forward.

COJOCARU: ... playful, happy...

KING: Answer the questions.

COJOCARU: ... Disneyland. It's the happiest place on earth.

KING: That's what it is.

COJOCARU: And Madonna is very -- she doesn't give, like, she's just cold.

KING: Steven, it's always great seeing you.

COJOCARU: Great to see you, thank you.

KING: We'll have you back soon. COJOCARU: OK, great.

KING: Steven Cojocaru, West Coast style editor, "People" magazine. And the book is "Red Carpet Diaries: Confessions of a Glamour Boy."

Hope you enjoyed tonight's edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Thanks for joining us, and good night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COJOCARU: Have you ever met Kylie Menogue (ph)? Why don't we fake it on camera?

Wow!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the heck are you wearing?

COJOCARU: I'm wearing a garbage bag.

I was put on my own worst-dressed list.

Well, good night, everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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Pierre Cossette, Steven Cojocaru>


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